FITCHBURG, Mass. - Gov. Maura Healey, Rep. Jim McGovern and the United Way announced Thursday afternoon the first round of funding from the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund.
The money will go to farms that were damaged by a series of floods over the summer, primarily in the western part of the state.
Since July, the fund has received more than $3 million in donations from more than 600 people and businesses - enough to finance two rounds of checks for eligible farmers. Phase one began last week, with money awarded to 214 applicants.
Healey, McGovern and others have spent the past month hearing directly from farmers like Jim Lattanzi of Hollis Hills Farm in Fitchburg about the struggles they’ve experienced.
“This is our tenth year farming here, and probably the most challenging,” Lattanzi said. “As a farmer, you have to be resilient, and I tell you, it takes the wind out of your sails when you work so hard and have it wash away. To know that we have the support of the governor, of our legislators, of our business partners to come out of nowhere and say, ‘Hey, we’re here to help,’ it blows a little wind back in your sails.”
As of August, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources estimates at least 148 farms were impacted by flooding this summer, with more than 2700 acres in crop losses totaling a minimum of $15 million.